UTR is on a roll with their tournament schedule, and I couldn’t be happier.
For those of you new to the junior tournament scene, all I can say is you should be very grateful that the folks at Universal Tennis have worked so hard to offer up a real alternative to the traditional junior competition model. I’m just sorry this wasn’t around when my kid was still competing at the junior level.
Take a look at the Flagler College UTR coming up October 8-9 in St. Augustine, FL, for example. Like #TheSol, selection and seeding will be done using UTR, on-court coaching is allowed, and the tournament will provide a healthy lunch to the players. What sets this tournament apart is that juniors and college players regardless of gender will potentially be in the same draw, depending on the UTR of those entered.
Here is some more information:
- 3-match guarantee.
- Level-Based Draws guarantee matches are of value by playing others at your UTR level, giving you the opportunity to be competitive and positively impact your UTR.
- College Players and Juniors could be in the same draw. Draws will be completely based on level and, as such, College players and Juniors will be in the same draws when they are of similar UTRs. To date, colleges that are sending some or all of their team are Flagler, Armstrong State, and UNF as well as a few more pending confirmation.
- Like College Tennis, coaching will be allowed.
- Being level-based instead of age/gender based, you will likely play against players that you have not often or ever player in the past.
- Lunch will be served Saturday, good stuff, not junk.
- Of course, all matches will count toward a player’s UTR.
Interestingly, the Tournament Director for the Flagler event is George Opelka, a Tennis Parent (Reilly’s dad) who has been very vocal about the need for change in the US junior competitive structure. George asserts, “The Flagler UTR tournament is a testament that UTR’s level-based play initiative is catching on in America. As of today (Tuesday), several players representing 3 different colleges have registered for the event in St. Augustine – now that’s exciting! Thanks to level-based play, the Flagler UTR may even spin up a few Billie Jean – Bobby Riggs matches. Stay tuned!”
I’m really excited to see what George and UTR bring to the table for this event! I love the fact that it is being held on a college campus (#SaveCollegeTennis) and that juniors and college players will be in the same draw à la the ITA Summer Circuit events. I also love the on-court coaching aspect – if college players can have coaching, why not juniors who are still developing, right? And, for those of you who are going to argue about juniors needing to learn how to problem-solve on their own during a match, please understand that the coaching is optional, so you don’t have to feel obligated to provide it for your player.
UTR is committed to bringing more of these types of tournaments to juniors around the US and around the world. You can see their entire schedule of events by clicking here. Parents and coaches, I encourage you to bookmark the UTR Tournaments page and check it often. These are exactly the types of tournaments our juniors should be playing in order to help maximize their potential and get prepared for the next step in their tennis journey.